Rhode Island

In the wake of 1824′s Hard Scrabble riot, the neighborhood of Snowtown emerged nearby. Like Hard Scrabble it housed both black families and poor whites living among places of ill repute and crime. It stood until 1831, when the  shooting death of a sailor triggered a second race riot in the city.

Once more a mob attacked and destroyed black homes, despite the fact that the residents had no ties to the shooting, and ended in the deaths of four white rioters at the hands of the local militia. While the 1924 riot was not treated seriously by Providence residents or the press, the 1931 riot resulted in calls for more suppression of rioters, and Providence voters approved a charter for a city government including strong police powers, making these two tragic race riots instrumental in creating the city that exists today.

Animated stereoview portrait of a family in a house near Newport, Rhode Island, c. 1850’s/1860’s.

Source: New York Public Library.